Exactly one year ago, President Biden declared that 2023 was going to bring the dawning of the age of a “great global transition” to renewable energy. Instead, the data just in shows that the opposite happened: instead of the green energy boom, we had the green energy bust.

Or to put it differently: The politicians fought a war against fossil fuels, and fossil fuels won.

Start with the hard reality that in 2023 the world consumed more fossil fuels than ever before. Reuters admitted that despite pledges to shun fossil fuels at the COP-28 climate change conference held several weeks ago: “oil, gas, and coal still account for about 80% of the world’s energy, and projections vary widely about when global demand will finally hit its peak.” Even Biden is acknowledging that oil production continues to hit new highs.


Gee, this is some transition.

Meanwhile, the developing countries are guzzling oil, gas and coal like nobody’s’ business. It turns out poor countries care more about pulling their citizens out of energy poverty than changing the temperature of the planet in 100 years – as well they should.

China continually pledges to wean itself off of coal and yet its production increased by 3.1% in 2023. Foreign Policy Magazine estimates that China has more than 200 new coal plants under construction with India adding nearly 30 more. The Indian government declared last week that they have no interest in the so-called transition away from coal.  China and India are the world’s biggest polluters in the world and their emissions keep getting worse, not better.

Meanwhile, stock returns for green energy have been clobbered. Here is an assessment from analysts at Nasdaq: “Solar energy stocks have been one of the greatest disappointments of the last few years….Stocks in the industry have dropped significantly since the beginning of 2021.”

The investment newsletter Motley Fool recently blasted this glum headline: 

Renewable Energy Stocks Got Crushed in 2023.


Oh, and what about EVs? Governments here and abroad are commanding car buyers to stop buying gas-powered cars over the next 5 to 10 years. All new car sales will have to be electric cars.


But so far, fewer than one in 10 cars sold are EVs. Car dealerships around the country can’t get the EVs off the lots and showrooms. Several thousand major car dealers across the nation signed a letter to the car manufacturers requesting fewer EVs.

Other than Tesla, nearly all the other wannabes are in touble. Lucid, Rivian, Nikola, and Fisker are teetering on the cliff of bankruptcy – with each losing 50 to 80 percent of their equity. The Wall Street Journal reported than 30 of the 40 most promising EV startups are either bankrupt or currently unprofitable. EVs are the biggest marketing flop since “New Coke.”

Only one in ten new cars sold are EVs. This is a spectacularly bad performance given that the federal government is still handing out to car buyers a $7,500 check/bribe if they will drive an EV car or truck off the new car sales lot.


Meanwhile, the oil and gas industry continues to fly high. The Permian Basin in Texas is producing more energy to the world than any time in history. In 2023, Exxon and Chevron spent nearly $100 billion swallowing up smaller wildcat firms, acquiring oil fields, drilling rights and infrastructure in Texas and the Gulf of Mexico. This is a conclusive market reality test: the big bet is that the oil and gas industry will pump out billions of barrels of more oil in the decade to come.

Argentina just announced one of the biggest pools of black gold discovered in years and the drilling will begin soon. Does this sound like an industry in decline?

Amazingly, the media keeps churning out fake news that the world is right on course with the green energy revolution. It’s the biggest head fake ever. The climate change industrial complex is only gigantic and sustained because of the hundreds of billions of dollars witless politicians throw at it. But their efforts are as futile as trying to stop the rise of the oceans using a thimble.

This isn’t the first green energy bust of the 21st century. The Obama administration tried to fight a war against fossil fuels by subsidizing wind, solar and batteries. The needle barely moved in part because the shale energy revolution clobbered all competitors.

Instead of green, we got red ink: Solyndra and dozens of other green bankruptcies. It turns out private industry and private investors chasing real profits, and not tax dollars, are MUCH better at predicting the future than politicians.

Biden loves to tout the trillions of dollars he’s spent and borrowed as “investments,” as if he and Congress are operating a giant hedge fund. So far the results are miserable.

Maybe we should get rid of all the subsidies and mandates and let the energy markets and consumers sort this out themselves. It’s hard to imagine green energy could do worse under this scenario.